For the 2023-24 school year, Byron Center Public Schools saw student enrollment grow, following the trend we have been seeing over the last few years. Due to this growth, BCPS is opening a fourth elementary school to give students and staff the space they need to learn and thrive. With this expansion, BCPS must shift our attendance boundaries to match enrollment. We are being extremely conscious about the way in which we analyze attendance boundaries and make decisions.
Byron Center Public Schools is currently partnering with Cooperative Strategies; a company that specializes in enrollment projections and assisting districts that need to redistrict when expanding. BCPS has worked with them over the years to help with future forecasting regarding building, growth of the district, and community. They are experts in this area that have assisted many districts to help with all the logistics to help create a smooth transition with district expansion.
The community's input is important as we move forward to create the most effective boundaries for students. BCPS will be transparent throughout this process and inform our families as we work through redistricting.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here you will find many of the frequently asked questions we are receiving about the redistricting process. If you have additional questions about the process, feel free to reach out to the administration office at 616-878-6100.
Who is on the Redistricting Committee?
Karen Jackson from Cooperative Strategies, Superintendent Kevin Macina, Assistant Superintendent Jeff Wierzbicki, Elementary Principal Nathan Clophus, Technology Director Russ Gerbers, Executive Director of Curriculum and Instruction Scott Joseph, and Communications Director Trisha McCauley. We will also be consulting with other internal staff to help guide the process depending on their expertise.
What is Cooperative Strategies?
Cooperative Strategies is a company that specializes in enrollment projections and assisting districts that need to redistrict when expanding. BCPS has worked with them over the years to help with future forecasting regarding building, growth of the district, and community. They are experts in this area that have assisted many districts to help with all the logistics to help create a smooth transition with district expansion.
Will the overall boundary of the district be changing?
No. If you currently reside within the Byron Center Public Schools boundary, you will remain within the district. This process will only adjust the K-4 boundary lines within the greater Byron Center Public Schools boundary.
How can families find out if their home address is within the BCPS boundary?
We have a boundary locator that you can use to determine this.
When will the new boundaries go into effect?
When does BCPS anticipate that a final decision will be made on redistricting?
The final boundary decision will be made in early spring. Families will receive communications throughout the process, and will be made aware of the final decision as soon as it is made.
Will housing developments be considered when creating boundaries?
Yes. Providing boundaries that offer longevity is of the utmost importance. Along with forecasting enrollment from specific housing developments, our partners at Cooperative Strategies are developing enrollment projections which will allow us to view enrollment trends geographically.
Are you considering socioeconomic balance?
Yes. We are looking at the demographics of the entire district; where there are housing developments, apartments, mobile communities, etc.
Will this only affect the elementary schools?
Yes. Only the K-4 elementary boundaries will be impacted by this process.
What elementary school is going to be impacted the most?
That is still to be determined. Each school has about 600 students and we are trying to create balanced schools with about 400-450 students at each building.
Could a student get redistricted to one of the current elementaries instead of the new building?
That is a possibility, depending on where the boundary lines are drawn.
Will any students be permitted to remain at their current school? What about siblings of these students?
We are going through all possible scenarios to see what is feasible and what is best for all of our students.
Can I choose to send my child to the new elementary school if his/her support system gets moved to the new school?
We are going through all possible scenarios to see what is feasible and what is best for all of our students. We may be able to make special accommodations to meet students’ unique needs.
Is this school going to be about the same size as the others?
Yes, we are trying to keep each elementary school around 500 students. There is the possibility of having more students, but we are aiming for the 500 student mark.
How many students per building?
BCPS is looking to create four balanced elementary schools with 400-450 students each.
How many classes per grade per school?
BCPS is looking to create four balanced elementary schools with three to four sections per grade. Class size will depend on each individual school and grade level needs.
Will each elementary school offer the same educational experience?
Yes. The curriculum will be the same across all four elementary schools. BCPS is being proactive this year by getting all three elementary schools on the same page, so if a student switches between schools it will be an easier transition.
Will the new elementary school have before/after school options?
Yes. The new elementary school will have the same opportunities as Brown Elementary, Countryside Elementary, and Marshall Elementary, including before/after school options.
Will teachers and staff be distributed amongst the schools?
Yes. The new elementary school will not be getting all new staff. BCPS has asked current staff members if they are interested in transferring to the new building. We are working with current teachers and support staff from the other three elementary schools in order to create BC culture across all schools. If new hires are needed, they will be spread out across the district.
Will the new elementary school have its own specials (art, music, PE, STEM) teachers?
We are looking into if it is possible to have a specific specials (art, music, PE, STEM) teacher at each elementary school or if buildings will share teachers.
Who will be in charge of the parent group at the new elementary school?
Principal Nathan Clophus will lead the charge to create a parent group for the new elementary. Parent groups from Brown, Countryside, and Marshall may be asked to help with the transition to get the group up and running.
What support will be given to kids who will need to change schools?
Change can be difficult. BCPS will be providing extra resources for students and families who are transferred to the new elementary school. It is important that we create that BC community culture that we all know and love. We will host welcoming events to get students and parents of the new school together.
Will there be plans to change traffic flow?
Byron Center Public Schools currently partners with the county for crosswalk safety. We are looking at potentially adding in crosswalks, safety signage, and/or more crossing guards to the area surrounding the fourth elementary school. Keep in mind, our intermediate school was located there last school year, which gives us an idea of what traffic flow could look like. We are hoping the congestion gets smaller around the elementary schools as the student count decreases at each building.
How will bus routes change?
We will not know this until we start creating boundary options. Once we begin to narrow our boundary options we will have a better idea of the impact to transportation.